Instagram rolls out new security feature to help protect hacked accounts

The update comes as the app sees a rise in malicious accounts sending direct messages to users to try and access sensitive information like account passwords.

Facebook-owned Instagram Inc said on Tuesday it has rolled out a new security feature for users whose accounts have been hacked.

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The ‘Security Checkup’ feature will help users add an extra layer of protection to their previously compromised accounts by checking login activity, reviewing profile information, confirming the accounts that share login information and updating account recovery contact information such as phone number or e-mail, the company noted in a statement.

The update comes at a time when several users have reported unauthorised break-ins to their Instagram accounts. There has been a rise in malicious accounts sending direct messages (DM) to users to try and access sensitive information like account passwords, Instagram said.

“They (malicious accounts) may tell you that your account is at risk of being banned, that you are violating our policies around intellectual property, or that your photos are being shared elsewhere. These messages are often scams and violate our policies. Instagram will never send you a DM,” the company explained.

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Instagram clarified all official and authentic communication from the company will be done via ‘Emails from Instagram’ tab in settings, and advised users to not engage with other impersonation messages.

Earlier in June, Maharashtra-based security researcher Mayur Fartade spotted a bug in the app which could permit hackers to view private or archived posts, stories and other media on Instagram. This could also enable hackers to store details about specific media by brute-forcing media IDs.

Earlier in February, the company took down hundreds of accounts that were hacked and sold for their high-value usernames by a rule-breaking group known as ‘OGUsers’.

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The image-sharing app also recommended enabling two-factor authentication for additional security, and said users can also do so through their WhatsApp numbers in the coming weeks in certain countries. It did not reveal details of the same.

Other additional security measures recommended by Instagram include enabling login requests, reporting questionable accounts and content, and updating contact details regularly.

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